Mawa cake

This is by far my favourite cake in all respects. The taste is heavenly of course but the winner for me is that you don’t need your weighing scales at all. Just a few measuring cups and viola, you are done!

This cake is so good that I made it three days in a row and still didn’t manage to get a decent picture for my blog. It was devoured after dinner, during breakfast and once when it came out of the oven, steaming hot!

Do try it out and let me know how it was…

Thanks to Savita Kulkarni from cooks forum who shared this recipe first and then to all those who trended it in the next few days.

Recipe –

To prepare the mawa –

1/2 cup milk powder

1/4 cup milk

1 tbsp butter

For the cake –

1/2 cup butter

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 cup plain flour

1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp b. Soda

1/2 cup milk

1 tsp cardamom powder

Pinch of saffron

Beat till fluffy the eggs, butter and sugar.

Add flour, baking powder and baking soda.

Add to egg mix.

Add cardamom powder and saffron.

Add the crumbly mawa and mix well.

Add milk to attain desired consistency.

Top with chopped nuts.

Pour in a cake tin and bake at 180* for 30 mins.

Heat butter in a non stick pan and add milk powder and milk. Keep stirring till the mix becomes thick and dry. When it becomes crumbly, take it out and cool.

The leftovers that survived just for the photos

Marathi goda masala

Multipurpose Marathi masala
(all purpose)
For tinda, baingan and masala bhaat

1 cup dhania seeds
1/2 cup jeera
1tsp methi daana
1tsp cloves
12 elaichi
Cinnamon sticks
1 cup dried red chillies

Roast all the ingredients one by one in oil, grind to a fine powder. Store in an air tight container.

6-8 pods garlic
1 cup grated coconut ( not dessicated)
2-3 tsp Red chilli pd
1 tbsp groundnut powder

Easy Lemon Posset

Lemon posset ( a quick 3 ingredient delight)

People find it difficult to believe me when I say that this is the quickest of desserts. You can make it while your guests are having their dinner too and still get away with it…. Try it and let me know….

Ingredients –

500ml double cream
150 gms sugar
3 lemon (juice of 2 and zest of 3)

Put the cream and sugar in a saucepan over a medium heat. Whisk them together and bring to the boil slowly. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes – the mixture should turn a rich yellow colour – before taking the pan off the hob.

While the mixture cools, grate the zest from all 3 lemons and squeeze the juice from 2. Add the juice and two-thirds of the zest to the cream mixture and whisk thoroughly until it is smooth.

Pour into the serving chilled ramekins and scatter the remaining zest on top. Serve with shortbread or ginger biscuits.

Beetroot and Goat’s Cheese Salad

Salads are far more than just greens and dont have to be boring. This is a great example of one such salad which is attractive, zingy and bursting full of flavour and can beat any French hors doeuvres hands down!

It combines the sweetness of the beetroot with the saltiness of goats cheese (or French brie if you are not a goats cheese fan) , the crunchiness of honeyed caramel with the softness of rocket leaves, the crisp walnut bites with the moist flavour of sweet bell pepper. I can go on and on…..

RECIPE

  • 1 Goats cheese or French brie, good quality
  • Pinch of pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic, grated
  • 1 tbsp Honey
  • Pinch of thyme
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Beetroot slices
  • Sweet pepper slices
  • Walnuts, a handful
  • Rocket leaves, a bag

Heat oven to 180 degrees celsius.

Mix together garlic, honey, thyme and pepper with a whisK. Drizzle over cheese with a dash of olive oil. Bake cheese for 10 mins in the oven.

Chargrill sweet peppers and beetroot.

Meanwhile prepare your balsalmic reduction by pouring it into a small saucepan. Bring it to a boil and simmer for the next 5-7 minutes till half the quantity.

Arrange a bed of rocket leaves and chargrilled bell peppers and beetroot.

Drizzle the balsalmic reduction over it.

Place the baked cheese on the bed of salad. Drizzle some more honey and serve warm.

Dabeli

The magic of monsoon, the pitter patter of rains, the incessant pounding on the windows and sneaking away yet again for that piping hot cup of masala chai with dabeli….memories, as far back as three decades ago, but as fresh as if it was just yesterday.
Ram made it, thanks to the new woman in his life, Archana from Hebbar’s Kitchen! Not sure if I am jealous or happy 😉 but my taste buds were definitely dancing away….
Do try it. Dabeli masala is really easy to make. Mainly sesame seeds, dried coconut and tamarind.

Kachori bytes- Jodhpuri pyaaz wali

Jodhpur kachori pyaaz waali aur mango barfi

Sab kehte hai – fried food is bad for health, meetha sehat ke liye achha nahi…
Main kehti hoon – woh kambakht mohabbat hi kya jo takleef na de ❤️❤️❤️

Well, jokes apart, in moderation, sab achha hota hai!!

Rainy days are synonymous with chai and kachori. It takes me back to college days when Ram and I would sneak away in the rains to feast on kachoris and jalebis with piping hot tea, usually in the same glass😅😅 , yes, sounds really cheesy but didn’t feel like it then, hehehe!
Felt like that yesterday too, no no not the romantic feel but was desperate for the feel of the crispy flaky kachori with the spicy steaming filling inside. Oh and the chai too…
I had never made kachoris before, but it is not tough at all. Tastes amazing. Do try it today and let us know how it was.
Found this amazing YouTube link with a lovely name – pappa mummy ki rasoi 😍 how sweet. Just follow them for the recipe.
https://youtu.be/0sXznI8iwu4

Ingredients

Pyaaz ki Kachori

All purpose flour – 1.5 cup

Ajwain – ½ tsp

Salt – ½ + 1.5 tsp

Edible Oil – ¼ cup + 3 table spoon + to deep fry

Fennel seeds – 1 tsp Coriander seeds – 1 tsp Cumin seeds – 1 tsp

Onion (medium size) – 4

Potato (medium size) – 3, boiled

Asafoetida – ¼ tsp Green Chilli – 2, finely chopped Ginger – 1 inch Red Chilli powder – 1.5 tsp Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp Gramflour – 2 table spoon Citric Acid – ¼ tsp Sugar – 1 tsp Garam Masala – ½ tsp Coriander leaves (chopped)

 

MAke a firm dough with flour, ajwain and saunf. Heat oil, add cumin seeds, masala and onions. Add potatoes. Stuff in a disc of dougha nd deep fry on medium heat.

Oh and also made some vegan mango barfi. It is a quick fix when you are short of time.
1cup mango blend with half cup almond milk or coconut milk
1cup sugar
3 cups coconut
Heat mango with sugar and milk till sugar dissolves
Add coconut
Stir well till it starts forming a thick lump.
Remove and chill on to a greased plate.

Salmon curry – no coconut

Sunday special – kerala salmon curry (super easy)
Salmon pieces
2 onions, Finely chopped
6 garlic chopped
3 inch ginger chopped
Curry leaves
Red chillies dry
Sliced tomatoes x2
1/2/3 tsp- haldi, chilli pd, dhaniya
Kokum optional

Heat oil, add mustard seeds, onion, ginger, garlic. Fry until translucent. Add sliced tomatoes and curry leaves. Stir till it becomes a mushy mix. Add hot water, drop the salmon pieces, Kokum and cover and cook till done.

Serve with hot rice!

And my princess turns 18 👸👸

Rhea’s favourite restaurant is Dishum…. Just like so many of us too. So when we realised we couldn’t go to Dishum, Dishum decided to come to us 😍😍. A birthday dinner fit for a princess….and she loved it! Nothing is more precious in this world other than a genuine thank you from your little adult 😍

Menu –

Brushchetta
Lamb chops
Gun powder potatoes
Black dal
Kiwi mango salad

Naan, steamed rice

Oreo cheesecake ( total flop!)
Daddy’s lemon drizzle… Takes one straight to heaven 😍😍😍
Subhash ‘s lemon drizzle…. And we go straight to heaven again!!! 🤣🤣🤣

Persian Rose and Pistachio cake

This enchanting cake reminds me of a Persian garden in the late spring, adorned with the floral scent of rose water and citrus, and decorated with bright green pistachios.

If it is not devoured in one sitting, the oil in the ground almond base ensures a moist, densely textured cake that will keep well for a couple of days, covered in foil. A sprinkling of dried rose petals looks pretty for special occasions, but don’t worry if you can’t get hold of any. It’s still a cake to win hearts.

Prep time: 30 minutes | Cooking time: 45 minutes

SERVES

Six to eight

INGREDIENTS

  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 12 cardamom pods
  • 100g plain flour, sifted
  • 275g ground almonds
  • Zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
  • 1 tbsp rose water
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • A generous pinch of fine sea salt

For the drizzle topping:

  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ½ tbsp rose water

For the icing:

  • 150g icing sugar
  • Juice of ¾ lemon
  • 2 tsp cold water

To decorate:

  • 2 tsp sliced pistachios
  • 2 tsp dried rose petals (optional)

METHOD

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160C/140C fan/Gas 3. Grease a 22cm cake tin (one with a removable base) and line it with baking parchment.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. When the mixture is thoroughly combined, beat in the eggs.
  3. Place the cardamom pods in a mortar and work with a pestle to get the seeds out of the pods. Discard the pods and grind the seeds to a fine powder. Add them to the cake mixture, along with the flour, ground almonds, lemon zest and juice, rose water, baking powder and salt. Mix well.
  4. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake in the oven for 45 minutes. To check if it is ready, stick a fork in the middle of the cake – it should come out dry.
  5. Towards the end of the cooking time, make your drizzle topping. Place the caster sugar, lemon juice and rose water in a small pan over a low heat and heat until the sugar melts.
  6. Remove the cake from the oven and place it on a wire rack. Poke holes all over the top of the warm cake and drizzle over the syrup.
  7. When the cake is completely cool, make the icing by combining the icing sugar, lemon juice and a few teaspoons of water until you have a smooth, thick icing. Spoon the icing over the cake and finish with a sprinkling of sliced pistachios and, if you like, rose petals.

Methi anda and parsi chow chow

Eggs all over…..

  1. Masaledar Methi Anda ( fenugreek eggs)
  2. Parsi Egg Chow Chow
  3. Radish leaf with yellow lentil ( moong mooli)

Yesterday i happily harvested our radish leaves ( well, truth is that the baby radish were rather premature and disappointing while the mooli leaves had taken over the entire pot!!!). Anyway, thanks to advice from another forum, i decided to make mooli moong dal.

But the expression on mum’s face said it all and out came the eggs and the meat!!!!

Methi anda is basically egg curry with lots of kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) in yoghurt and tomato gravy.

Egg chow chow is a non spicy Parsi dish. Small crispy cubes of boiled potatoes in mild tomato gravy with chopped boiled eggs, topped with chaat masala or lemon juice.

Chicken katsu curry

Katsu curry –
Katsu curry is basically sweetish Japanese curry ( 1tsp curry powder+1tsp mild garam masala + pinch of pepper) mixed with flour and coconut milk.
Easy to make and tastes heavenly.

Recipe –
Breaded chicken ( use readymade ones. I made my own but the coating was not as firm as readymade)
Onions Finely chopped
Carrots ( slices or batons)
Vegetables if needed
Flour 1tsp
Cornflour 1tsp
Coconut milk 1 can
2tbsp Honey or maple syrup

Heat oven and place breaded chicken in it.
Heat oil, add Finely chopped onions and carrots and stir till onions are soft.

Add 1tsp curry powder, 1tsp turmeric, 1tsp plain flour, stir lightly till a roux like consistency is formed.

Add coconut milk.

Add 1tsp cornflour, boil

2 tbsp honey or maple syrup.

Finally squeeze half a lemon and stir.
Serve over the chicken with picked cucumber.

Recipe for Japanese pickled cucumber
Thinly sliced cucumber
Rice wine vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, soy sauce, Finely chopped spring onions, chilli flakes, roasted black sesame seeds. Mix together with cucumber or radish thin slices.

Chettinad pepper fry

Chettinad Chicken pepper fry –
This is one of my fav dry chicken recipes, cooks in a jiffy. Love the flavour of pepper. Goes very well with chilled beer, espc on this weather!!!!

Marinade chicken with turmeric pd, salt.
Dry roast and grind handful of coriander seeds and  peppercorns each, 1tsp cumin seeds, 2 red chillies.
Fry gree  chillies (Optional), sliced onions (2) and ginger.
Add 2tbsp coriander-pepper powder
Fry till well mixed
Add chicken and keep stirring till soft and succulent.

Puranpoli, the marathi feast

Following mouth watering discussions on our FB forum, a good friend Geeta Kamat finally revealed the deep dark secrets to the perfect puran poli. Bear in mind that she is one of the most perfectest of perfect cooks ever, making even the humble potato stir fry look like a Robuchan’s Pommes Puree on his degustation menu!!!! Thanks Geeta for that and the photos😍

RECIPE –
1 cup chana daal+3 cups water

Pressure cook chana daal. Once cooked drain the stock and put it aside for making Kataachi Aamti.

For making the filling use the over cooked chana daal & keep stirring in a pan to remove any moisture left then+ jaggery + cardamom powder + saffron/nutmeg for flavouring and keep stirring until it all gathers up in the pan. This is the filling.

Kataachi Aamti –

1 tsp cumin seeds, 5-6 red chillies, 4-5 pepper corns, 4-5 cloves, 1 tsp coriander seeds, 1/4 inch cinnamon. Roast all in a tspn of oil. After cooling grind + 1/2 cup fresh coconut and grind to a fine consistency.
Next in a pan for tadka – oil+ mustard seeds+ curry leaves+ hing + ground masala + daal stock + a small tspn of rice flour if its watery & bring to boil. Add a small ball of jaggery or puran + salt.

Moqueca–prawn and fish stew

Moqueca De Piexe (simple translation : fish/prawn stew)
Orange cake (simple translation : cake with chopped dried orange bits and juice)

Peeled prawns, white fish & peppers cooked in homemade creamy coconut, fresh tomato & lime sauce with a coconut farofa to sprinkle.

Pre-birthday planning was on the cards but this perennially starved family was going crazy for their favourite restaurant foods, be it Nandos, Sushi or Chennai Dosa….. It is just not the same when you order a takeaway. So came across the Las Iguanas menu (while drooling over pics on their website) and decided to make some of their recipes…

This is simple, easy to make. Sounds exotic but you will have all the ingredients in your pantry. It is not packed with punch as most Indian or Thai curries are…. It is rather mild with subtle sublime flavours. You will definitely not be a garlic machine but the end of it…. 😜

Ingredients –

White fish, cut into big cubes
Prawns
2 onions, Finely chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, Finely chopped
2 green pepper, in chunks
4 tomatoes, in chunks
1 tin good quality coconut milk
1tsp each of paprika, cumin powder, jalapeños chopped
Coriander leaves and toasted coconut to garnish

Recipe –

Heat oil, fry onions and garlic.
Add dessicated coconut and sweet peppers
Saute for 5 mins.

Add chopped tomatoes and stir for 5 mins.

Add paprika, Cumin pd, jalapeños, salt and stir well.

Add coconut milk and let it simmer for 5-7 mins.

Place white fish gently till it is completely submerged. Cook for 5 mins.

Add cooked prawns and coriander leaves at the end.

Sprinkle toasted coconut before serving.

Serve with lime rice.

Pineapple rasam and vaangi bhaaji

Aai’s vange chi bhajee ( or something close to it )- roast and grind dhania seeds 3tbsp, jeera 1tbsp, groundnut pd 1tbsp, sesame seeds 1tbsp, kaju 1tbsp, coconut 1tbsp, red chillies.

Mix well with finely chopped onions,coriander, salt sugar, haldi, chilli pd, garam masala or good masala. Stuff this powder into slit brinjals. Heat generous amount of oil, add hing, mustard seeds and the usual tadka stuff. release the stuffed brinjals into the oil, stir till it changes colour, then cover and cook till done. Keep adding water if it thickens.

Pineapple rasam- cook our daal , thin it to a desired consistency with water, add pineapple chunks, tomatoes, curry leaves, haldi, crushed black pepper, rasam powder. Boil till done. Add tadka at the end with red chillies and hing.

Quick bisi bele bhaath

Best soul satisfying mid week dinner ( 10mins )
BISI BELE BHAAT

Mark Twain- name the greatest inventor of all time: Accident!!!

Recipe-
Left over dal
Left over rice
Ghee
Cooked veg optional
Bisi bele bhaat powder
Tamarind pulp
Jaggery
Tadka
Handful of roast cashews and groundnuts

Method- mix dal and rice well (with your hands if possible),  add a big dollop of ghee, a glug of  tamarind pulp , a handful curry leaves, jaggery,  masala pd as required and water to make it the consistency of porridge. Heat till it starts sticking to the pan. Add ghee tadka And serve hot!!!!

Story of how it evolved-

And so it was….. maybe the south Indians in the group may know this but I stumbled upon this wonderful quick soul satisfying, finger licking,  mid week bowl of sinful delight purely by accident!!!
Tired and weary after work,  with thoughts of a take away in mind,  I entered home yesterday  and immediately saw 2 bowls of leftover dal and cooked rice,  kept on the table by a disapproving dad  . Trying to please dads  is every girl’s motto in life and so I decided to  heat and eat it myself with a bit of chilli powder added just for the kick. 
Unknowingly,  instead I added a huge spoon of bisi belle bhaath powder and viola,  it was just amazing!!! Even hubby kept having extra helpings again and again!!!!
It has even found it’s way into our lunch boxes  

Try it and you will definitely be very very happy!!!

Tortilla soup

Jhatpat mexican tortilla soup-


A super easy, weekday meal to keep your calories and increasing waist line in control ( Aditi Gupte boss, aapka hukm sar aankhon par)

Heat oil, add garlic and chopped red onion , saute
Chopped winter vegetables ( I added sweet potato, butternut squash, parsnip) go in next.
Can of marrowfat peas or any soft beans ( being a weekday, cans are favored)
Fajita seasoning ( since there was no fajita seasoning at home , how typical, i used a can of fajita beans which was lying unloved in a dark corner ) like they say, every can has his day!!
Add chopped tomatoes or puree, a dollop of ketchup ( masala chili tastes divine)
After boiling, leave it to simmer ( The more it simmers, the yummier it is)
Add a handful of tortilla chips and grated cheese just before serving.

Banana cake

Rule of 2 & 1/2 : Quickie banana cake
Always hated the idea of measuring while making anything! Not one to stick to rule when it comes to cooking. So this is an absolute delight in weekend mornings…
I call it the rule of 2&1/2 cake
2 bananas
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking pd
Blend together the first four ingredients and fold in the flour. Bake at 160 degree for 30 mins…. Viola!!!

Karela, will eat, won’t eat?

Supriya Dharmadhikari ‘s karela fry-


I have always disliked bitter gourd with a passion!!! Reminded me of childhood tantrums and fights with mum for hours! However this is ‘the’ karela dish that even a total anti-karela person has fallen in love with!
Recipe:
Karela cut, scoop insides and boil with some imli till just soft.
Take out, sqeeze water out and keep aside.

Besan- Dry roast well.
Add garam masala, goda masala, hing, haldi, mirchi, til, ground nut pd, sugar, salt.

Stuff the masala in the karela.

Heat generous amount of oil in a pan and stir fry the stuffed karela.

Garnish with chopped coriander.


Dhaba chicken

So, to continue inundating cooks forum with food made when you have nothing else to do 😂😂😂, here is an easy peasy DHABA STYLE Chicken made by Shreeram Deshpande


Recipe –
Oil heated 3 Tbsp,
Chicken 1 kg stir fry till it starts changing colour,
Ginger paste 1 Tbsp and Garlic paste 1 Tbsp, Stir fry to lose the raw flavour
2 large chopped tomatoes, cook till soft,
Add spices (1 Tsp) Turmeric, Chilli powder, Coriander powder, Cumin powder, cook on medium flame
Add 1/2 cup water cover and cook for 15 mins,
add Salt, garam masala, Salt to taste and all the chopped Veg (Chunky Onions x 2, Large Red Pepper, 4 green Chillies, Strips of Raw Mango, Julienne Ginger), continue on low flame for 10 mins.
If chicken needs more time to cook add 1/4 cup water, cover and cook if needed.

Garnish with fresh Coriander and serve.

Mango mishti dohi….

Mango mishthi dohi ( adapted from Kalpa Sundar recipe )
The first time I had this piece of heaven, I was hooked! And anything goes with mango, so mango mishthi dohi it was!
Very easy recipe, done in less than10 mins..
Recipe:
Greek yoghurt -one pot
Condensed milk-1 tin
Mango pulp-same as condensed milk
Elaichi pd pinch

Mix all ingredients.
Steam in a steamer or pressure cooker ( don’t forget to cover with lid)
Steam for around 30 mins.

Variation- crush ginger nut biscuits and mix with butter. Use as base for mango cheesecake ( for those who don’t like the taste of cream cheese)

PS- apologies for the image…. The dish was already dug into by the time I got the camera out 😂😂

Home made carbonara….. Really!!!!

Carbonara sauce- home made (you need only eggs and cheese)!

How many of you buy your pasta sauce?
Honest confession – have always bought pasta sauce rather than make it fresh…. Eeks, I how I don’t get kicked out of this group!

Yesterday, Varun taught me how to make easy sauce at home with just eggs and cheese.

Fry pancetta and keep aside.

Boil tagliatelle , reserve a ladle of pasta water.

Add oil to it, add whisked eggs (2eggs and 2 yolks) and a generous fistful of cheese ( usually parmesan, I added gruyere as we had run out of parmesan, typical!!), salt, pepper.

Whisk it into the hot tagliatelle , turning well all the time till you get a creamy consistency. Add cream to get the right form, if needed.

You will never go back to the store sauce ever.

Crispy chicken and Captain Ri….

Spicy garlic chicken – Korean fried chicken
Korean is the new kid on the block for me, ever since Captain Ri took my heart away 😍😍 ( well, if you have not watched Crashlanding on Netflix, your reading this is not worth it!!! ♥️♥️).
Anyway, started looking up Korean delicacies and this is similar to what we have always made. The only difference is double frying chicken with a generous amount of coating, either cornflour or piripiri coating. The result is succulent, crispy, super moist chicken coated in the most delicious lip smacking sauce!
Easy to make.
Just heat oil
Add lots of garlic, red chillies, soy sauce, siracha sauce, a tbsp vinegar, mustard, honey to fried chicken….. Viola

Sundays and lamb curry

Lamb curry


While growing up in Nagpur, Sundays used to be special, very special. Meat used to be a once a week treat hence Sundays were special indeed as it was the day when mum would get lamb from the local butcher and make the most delicious lamb curry and dad would painstakingly remove the marrow from the bones just for me (someone told him that it would make my mind sharp!). All this would be devoured instantly with steaming hot rice, followed by a long siesta below a loud roaring fan, with no care in the world. The lamb doesn’t taste like that anymore but the curry that mum makes still does.

Sharing the centuries old family recipe which I realised has nothing to do with the ingredients or amounts added. It is what it is because of the love and passion with which it has been cooked and fed for generations….. Although it seems distant, but hoping that my kids will carry on the tradition.

Recipe –
Oil – half a cup
Lamb – 1kg
Onions – 4 Finely chopped
Ginger – a thumb size chunk cut in small slices
Garlic – an entire bulb
Tomatoes – 4 chopped
Whole spices – cinnamon 1, green cardamon 4, black cardamon 2, bay leaf, cloves 3, peppercorns 10, 2 star anise, red chilli dry 4

Powdered spices –
2 tsp chilli powder
3 tbsp coriander powder
1tsp garam masala powder

1tbsp dry fenugreek leaves

Lime and coriander leaves

Heat oil in a thick pan
Add whole spices and stir for 1 minute
Add onion, ginger and stir till it becomes brown in colour
Add chilli powder, Coriander powder, garam masala powder and stir till it is well mixed.
Add washed lamb pieces and stir on high flame till it changes colour.
Add tomato and garlic bulb
Add a cup of water, salt to taste.
Cover and cook till done.

Add roasted dry fenugreek leaves at the end with a nice squeeze of fresh lime.

Garnish with coriander leaves.
Serve with steaming hot rice and yoghurt raita

Maa and Masala dosa

Many people have eaten in this kitchen and gone on to live normal healthy lives – thus issued a plaque gifted by a dear friend to mum. And how true it was….. The lockdown has seen a plethora of talented wannabe cooks and a deluge of recipes, and that includes me (totally unashamed and unabashed of my FB cooking exploits 🤗🤗).
But I have always wondered, time and again, frustrated and irked as to what was it that made my mum’s food so special?! So special that guests would glide past my elegantly served hors d’oeuvre to gorge on her carelessly tossed chilli chicken or fish fry. The guide to magical (or let’s say mumsical ) cooking however is not in the recipe or ingredients or exact measurements. It lies in practice and love, making it again and again and again, unlike fair weather/quarantined fausse cuisiniere like me 😝 and with the smile which beckons one and all. The irresistible combination.
So here is one of mum’s regular offerings which seals one’s place in her heart, the unassuming masala dosa!!

Salted Caramel Brownies

Nigella Lawson, once purred these famous words -Salted caramel is the Class A drug of the confectionary world! How true, ah how true! One lick of the spoon and you are transported to a heady world of sheer bliss and pleasure. Like a stalker’s obsession, you want more and more but are more likely to swing between the yo-yo of self denial and graceful glorious acceptance. I, for once, would want to wallow in it, not just experience it, but wallow in the sheer gorgeousness of the smooth golden molten and utterly indescribably beguiling liquid flowing down my throat and straight to my heart…..ah, well, to the coronaries as well but who cares…..a year less than 90 with caramel is acceptable, isn’t it!!!

Anyway, enough of salivating and drooling, lets get down to the facts…. mix together chocolate, butter, sugar, etc etc or just get a cheap help ( aka kids bribed with pocket money or emotional stale Bollywood maa dialogues!) and viola, welcome to sugar heaven…..

Rhea made these as there is no way I can follow recipes with measurements…..http://www.foodnetwork.co.uk/recipes/salted-caramel-brownies.html?utm_source=foodnetwork.com&utm_medium=domestic

Warning – post lunch, post shower, post exercise ingestion on a sunny day can lead to prolonged periods of inactivity.

New year 2020 park run

E

very park run has a story, in fact, every run has a story.
For years, I used to dread saturdays, dragging myself groggy and puffy eyed , a bag of nerves, shifting uneasy glances at the lithe fluidity with which runners passed me by, feeling like a turtle stampeding through peanut butter! 4 years down the line, and here I am, dragging others to the start line, feeling the perverse pleasure of lifting someone from their warm bed into the chilly cold park run !!
For years I have wondered why people flock together to do the park run. its only a 5k, some would say, its too crowded, its too early, we feel we are very slow….. but what they realise only after attending a few is that the only person you compete with is yourself. You instantly become part of a running family and start adoring your fellow runners.
Today I ran with so many inspirational folks…
Today I ran with Priyanka, who sorted her babies before rushing to the run.
Today I ran with Aditi, who came all the way from Harborne, just because she had given me her word that we would start the new year run together.
Today I ran with my running club buddies including my crazy Ann Spencer, who has become part of me in the last few years and continues to inspire me with her antics.
Today I ran with Vijay and Viji, the first runner amongst us and who (in the words of Prashant) ran even before running became fashionable!
Today I ran with Subhash , who instilled the discipline of running in me.
But most of all, today I ran with Ram, something I never imagined would happen and boy, I am so so glad it did. Now we can talk about household chores and finances even while running 😛😛😛

In essence, you don’t need to run for speed or accolades. A mile whether done in 4 minutes or 14 needs the same effort from different groups. What counts is that you were at the start line….. there is always time to be at the start line. You just need to start …..

2020 is that year

Cheesecake

Cheesecake is a slice of heaven. There is a common sight when someone puts a spoon of cheesecake in their mouth. They close their eyes, lips curl into smile , a halo surrounds them and all you hear is mmmmmm…..tell me thats not right :))))

I have longed to make a baked cheesecake but being a stickler for NOT following rules and measurements, I had always avoided the painstakingly long process till I was forced to, purely in an effort to defeat the forces that were trying to make it not happen…..the first effort failed as the entire waterbath toppled in the oven ( well, i cleaned the oven instead). I tried again and conveniently forgot the time and ended up with charred cheesecake ( not recomended) 🙂 , so finally, it dawned that fate was fighting against my efforts and decided to do it once more. Yet again, I marched to the shops, got the ingredients and hey presto, it worked. Never been so happy with any of my desserts…..Its fresh, soft and delicious. Try it and you will not make anything else again.

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Crust Ingredients:

1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/3 cup melted margarine

Filling Ingredients:

900 gm ( 3 tubs ). cream cheese

1 ¼ cups granulated sugar

½ cup sour cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

5 eggs

Topping Ingredients:

½ cup sour cream

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

Canned whipped cream (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Place a large pan or oven-safe skillet
(that the cheesecake pan will fit inside) filled with about ½-inch of
water into the oven while it preheats. This will be your water bath.

2. Combine 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon into
a medium bowl. Mix in 1/3 cup melted margarine. Press the crumb into a
9-inch spring form pan that has been lined on the bottom and side with
parchment paper. Use the bottom of a drinking glass to press the crumb
mixture into the bottom of the pan and about 2/3 the way up the side.
Wrap a large piece of foil around the bottom of the pan to keep the
cheesecake dry when placed in the water bath in the oven. Put the
crust in your freezer until the filling is done.

3. Use an electric mixer to combine the cream cheese with sugar, sour
cream, and vanilla. Blend mixture for a couple of minutes or until the
ingredients are smooth and creamy. Be sure to scrape down the sides of
the bowl. Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl and then add them to the
cream cheese mixture. Blend the mixture just enough to integrate the
eggs.

4. Remove the crust from the freezer and pour the filling into it.

5. Carefully place the cheesecake into the preheated water bath. Bake
for 12 minutes at 475 degrees, then turn the oven down to 350 degrees
and bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until the top of the cheesecake turns
a light brown or tan color. Remove the cheesecake from the oven to
cool.

6. When the cheesecake has cooled, combine ½ cup sour cream and 2
teaspoons sugar. Spread the sweetened sour cream over the entire top
surface of the cheesecake. Cover and chill the cheesecake in the
refrigerator for at least 4 hours. To serve, slice the cheesecake into
12 equal portions. Apply a pile of canned whipped cream to the top of
each slice and serve. Makes 12 servings.

nigella
for the base
150 grams digestive biscuits
75 grams unsalted butter (melted or very soft)
600 grams cream cheese
150 grams caster sugar
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
for the topping
145 ml sour cream
1 tablespoon caster sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

CAKE
Method

Process the biscuits until they are like crumbs, then add the butter
and pulse again. Line the bottom of a 20cm / 8 inch springform tin,
pressing the biscuits in with your hands or the back of a spoon. Put
the tin in the fridge to set, and preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas mark
4/350ºF.
Beat the cream cheese gently until it’s smooth, then add the sugar.
Beat in the eggs and egg yolks, then finally the vanilla and lemon
juice. Put the kettle on.
Line the outside of the chilled tin with strong foil so that it covers
the bottom and sides in one large piece, and then do the same again
and put it into a roasting dish. This will protect the cheesecake from
the water as it is cooked in its water bath.
Pour the cream-cheese filling into the chilled biscuit base, and then
pour hot water from the recently boiled kettle into the roasting tin
around the cheesecake. It should come about halfway up; don’t overfill
as it will be difficult to lift up the tin. Put it into the oven and
cook for 50 minutes. It should feel set, but not rigidly so: you just
need to feel confident that when you pour the sour cream over, it will
sit on the surface and not sink in. Whisk together the sour cream,
sugar and vanilla for the topping and pour over the cheesecake. Put it
back in the oven for a further 10 minutes.
Take the roasting tin out of the oven, then gingerly remove the
Springform, unwrap it and stand it on a rack to cool. When it’s cooled
down completely, put it in the fridge, removing it 20 minutes before
eating to take the chill off. Unmould and when you cut into it, plunge
a knife in hot water first.

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Ski 2019- to ski or not to ski

Skiing holidays- the chance to spend a week escaping the relentless wheel of mundane existence by transforming into this super cool girl exuding positive vibes, zipping past upturned skis, long golden tresses flying impressively in the air…… nahhh, what am I talking about!!!

In my case, even after many ski vacations, it is still construed as throwing myself down the side of a mountain over and over again, with bruises on the rearside the size of apples and pears and of course, totally bashed egos 😂😂😂
Dressed up like a puffy penguin, I still dream of a day when I would stand next to the svelte leggy Russian blondes (sans their bald, paunchy owners!) resplendent in shiny onesies and fur hats. No ugly black helmets for them, oh noooo….. 🙄🙄

The ski lifts, espc the button lifts, still scare me and so do the train of ducklings that glide past emerging into swans at the end of the week while I still pizza my way down, butt high up in the air, elbows and ski poles outstretched, ready to spear the unsuspecting snowboarder behind me !!

But skiing holidays are not all that bad……. it amounts to hundreds of funny stories that my kids narrate year after year, of mum being the perennial tumbling clown on the slopes, long nights of wine and cheese, waking up to snow covered roofs with white smoke billowing out of chimneys and to the smell of fresh baguettes.
Take me to the slopes again……